Subject Area: Social Studies, US History
Synopsis: Highlights the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Discusses Clinton’s attempts to create and expand social programs, and the scandals that undermined his presidency. Explains how George W. Bush was elected, despite winning fewer popular votes than his opponent, and how the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 presented new challenges to the presidency: to defeat terrorism and respect international opinion without weakening the rights or security of U.S. citizens.
Learning Objectives: Objective 1) Students will be able to discuss Bill Clinton’s social policies and programs, as well as the scandals that undermined his presidency and led to his impeachment.
Objective 2) Students will be able to explain how George W. Bush won the presidential election in 2000, despite winning fewer popular votes than his opponent, Al Gore.
Objective 3) Students will be able to recall the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the War on Terrorism.
Objective 4) Students will be able to discuss the challenges the President must face because of September 11th, including protecting both the security and civil rights of American citizens.
Pre-Viewing Activities: 1) Explore students’ previous knowledge about Bill Clinton, George Bush, the impeachment of Bill Clinton, the September 11thterrorist attacks, and the War on Terrorism.
2) Vocabulary: deficit, Whitewater Affair, perjury, obstruction of justice, impeach, popular votes, Taliban
Post-Viewing Discussion and Activities: 1) What social issues did Bill Clinton focus on during his presidency?
2) What scandals arose in Clinton’s presidency? Why was Bill Clinton impeached? Do you believe Clinton’s offenses deserved impeachment? Why or why not? Is it important for the American public to know about a president’s personal life?
3) How did George Bush win the 2000 Presidential election? Why was the election controversial?
4) What happened on September 11, 2001? How did these attacks affect the United States? Why was the war in Afghanistan the first in the war on terrorism?
5) What challenges does the President face in the war on terrorism? Why is it necessary to respect international opinion in the war on terrorism? In what ways is it challenging to protect both the security and rights of Americans? Which do you personally believe is more important: security or civil rights?
6) Herbert Hoover said, “The presidency must be a symbol of American ideals.” In what ways is the presidency a symbol of American ideals?
Additional Activities: 1) Divide students into groups to research the following: the Whitewater affair, the electoral college, the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Taliban, and Osama Bin Laden. After providing students with adequate time to research their subjects, have them present their findings to the class.
2) Ask students to report what they value most: security or civil rights. How did learning about these topics in greater detail affect their opinions?
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